AFC East Notes: Aponte, Dolphins, Pats, Lewis

Although there were some rumblings that longtime Dolphins executive Dawn Aponte would be heading to Detroit to help Lions GM Bob Quinn deal with contracts and the salary cap, Aponte will be staying in Miami, according to Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post and Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter links).

Let’s check in on some more items from out of the AFC East…

  • The fact that Adam Gase retained nine coaches from the Dolphins‘ old coaching staff doesn’t mean that he had trouble finding better candidates, writes Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. As Salguero explains, many of those coaches drew interest from other teams around the league, so it’s not as if they aren’t highly regarded — special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi, for instance, had four interview requests, all of which the Dolphins turned down, says Salguero.
  • While the Patriots will have some potential free agents to deal with this offseason, the team’s priority may be to lock up the “big four” defenders who could reach the open market after the 2016 season, says Mike Reiss of New England has a little over a calendar year to explore extension for cornerback Malcolm Butler, defensive end Chandler Jones, and linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. In Reiss’ view, the latter three players could all be in line for deals that exceed $8MM annually — Butler will be a restricted free agent, so he should be relatively affordable for at least one more year beyond 2016.
  • Running back Dion Lewis, who signed a contract extension with the Patriots in the fall, is currently on track to be recovered from his torn ACL in time to participate in training camp, writes Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.
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